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Thread: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?




  1. #1
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Question Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    How do you handle the following situation:

    You are teaching a workshop with intermediate or advanced skills and the workshop was billed as such. But after you get going, it becomes obvious that a small number of beginners are also in the room and they are pretty lost.

    What do you do?

    If you have to stop and teach them the basics, the more advanced students will be annoyed.

    If you don't stop to do so, they will be quite overwhelmed.

    Do you try to bring them up to speed quickly? Take them aside and hand them to an assistant to help them? Ask them to sit out? Get the workshop sponsor to handle it? Turn your workshop into multi-level instantly by offering easier and harder options off the top of your head?

    They shouldn't have signed up in the first place, but now you are stuck with them! Now what?
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    Just Starting! TaliaD's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    If it were billed as a intermediate workshop, then thats where my loyalties would lie.

    After 10 mins or so, if i suspected there was a lot of beginners in the class, id casually ask, "so have you all travelled far? and how long have you all been belly dancing. How many over a year or so " (then they would raise their hands), then Id ask "anyone a relative beginner" :D (then they would raise their hands). ..then id carry on, after what looked like a general "breaking the ice" conversation.

    With that knowledge id wait till the first water break and go over and tell then how well they were doing and that, as they KNEW it was an intermediate workshop, so just to do the best they could and even if they didn't take away everything from the class, I hope they would pick up some valuable things. Id tell them to follow along best they could and have a word with me at the end if there was anything they wanted me to clarify.

    It would be unfair, in my opinion, to go back to basics for those that attended the correct level for them.
    Last edited by TaliaD; 01-17-2012 at 04:45 PM.


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    The old "just do what you can" trick seems to be the best. Plus you can always say things like "if you're having trouble getting this you can take the shimmy off", which gives them permission to do things the easier way.
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    If it's one or two people in a group, I'd say "That's part of the basic movement vocabulary I assumed we all shared in an intermediate/advanced class. It's a good question for your regular weekly teacher, but if I stop to break down the basics we'll never get through the material. Just follow along as best you can."

    If it seems like it's the majority of the group, though, I'd tailor the material on the fly.


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    I took lots of classes I had no business taking the first 2 years. I wasn't expecting anyone to cut me any slack. Good dancers had paid good money to take from these ladies, so I was happy they weren't slowing down for the beginners like me. It would have made me feel terrible.


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    I could get used to this! briceashta's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    I took lots of classes I had no business taking the first 2 years. I wasn't expecting anyone to cut me any slack. Good dancers had paid good money to take from these ladies, so I was happy they weren't slowing down for the beginners like me. It would have made me feel terrible.
    Yeah, this is a great perspective from the student-level.

    After being self-taught for a couple years and taking a couple omgreal classes, I was really excited to take a workshop with a few dancers I really admired. A couple years would surely be enough, right? Nope. Way over my head.

    If the workshop had slowed down for us lesser skilled (or if I even considered it had) I would have been absolutely mortified and would have spent the rest of the experience feeling the judgmental eyes of better dancers ripping me to shreds (Doubtful that it would actually happen, but paranoia does strange things).

    I will fourth (?) the "just do your best" sentiment. You could even work it into the introduction, like, "Don't worry about everybody else. Just do your best to keep up and take lots of notes so you can try it at home." Only more eloquently than I am capable of. This also serves the added benefit of reminding people to take notes. I forgot to do that in said workshop, and I'm still kicking myself.


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    Official BHUZzer lplmuk's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    There lies a problem with labels. One dancer's intermediate is another's just past beginner. Some dancers at 2years experience are way behind others in capability.
    I had a lady who had beeen dancing with another teacher for a year and who claimed to be "intermediate" who was way behind my 6 weekers in technique. Another teacher-friend had two ladies come along who danced in anothers "intermediate" class who couldn't throw a hip drop. They popped their heads into the studio were our dance group were practising and asked could they join us as they thought we were the "advanced" group.Doh!!!
    I was an observer/first aider in a workshop given by a US teacher which was labelled "open" and Slow and sensuous and I watched middle aged and elderly Brit ladies struggling to get on and off the floor in rapid succession.They wallowed in the warm-up. I was fearful my limited skills would be required. Two ladies staggered out of the workshop with ashthma attack and twisted ankle respectively. Now these ladies could have been dancing for years but because of a casual (and probably perfecty suitable) approach to the dance by their teacher not made a lot of progress.just having fun. Then they sign on for what seems to be a suitable workshop with a super-fit Californian and ooops.
    Teachers aught to be realistic with their students and not just trot out "oh, you're doing well" "oh, you're a lovely dancer" instead of "You have the basics but..." We ain't gonna do it are we? But we should spell out what a workshop will demand .
    And if as the instructor yourself you find either the majority or large minority have gauged the workshop wrongly then you probably have to adjust what you are teaching..just as any teacher-teacher has to do with a mixed ability classs. And in the end, the paying customers will have a right to tuition even if they have been misled/misled themselves


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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    There are two ideas here: (1) regular, weekly teachers should be giving students useful, honest feedback about their development, and (2) the workshop organizer should be providing an adequate description of the workshop before students are in the room. (1) is the usual can of worms about guiding those students who don't want to hear anything less than supportive pleasantries, and teachers who are afraid that too much candor chases away business. (2) involves the other chronic problem of not publicizing event content well and sufficiently in advance, plus some of the fear of losing potential business, too. Cynical as it may be, I suspect most event organizers are secretly more concerned about not losing a ton of money than providing a quality educational experience. Ideally, they want to pull off the event financially and have every student leave happy, but at the end of the day, many of them will make the compromise of diminishing content quality to get enough bodies in the room to break even. Most places are not large enough to support a true upper-level workshop, so you've got to have good publicity and a well planned package deal to attract out-of-towners (more skills that not every dancer is born with). It's also more reason to feel guilty about telling someone they don't belong if they failed to self-screen adequately, but they came from far away and spent a big chunk of cash to attend.

    Quote Originally Posted by lplmuk View Post
    And in the end, the paying customers will have a right to tuition even if they have been misled/misled themselves
    Ah, but which paying customers? The ones who deserve to be there, or the ones who don't but whose money spends the same? Which market do you chase? The most advanced students in the room, who have probably already slogged through years of dance community BS and keep coming back, or the newbies who represent years long-term potential if you can get them to stick around? Don't a lot of teachers assume a little more abuse won't discourage the hardcore students? Isn't it easier to guilt trip them by calling on their spirit of graciousness and saying, "You were a beginner once, too. Don't you remember how overwhelmed you were by your first workshop?" than it is to go up to a n00b and say, "I'm terribly sorry, but we don't have to accommodate you and your lack of experience, because you should have realized beforehand that you aren't ready to be here."

    It's a shame more students don't have the self awareness Anala expressed, but that seems to be universal these days. Personally I'd be embarrassed to find myself in a workshop way above my head, and I'd stay quietly in the back, rather than hijack the class so everybody else could defer to my incompetence. Then again, I'm tall and I sometimes have to modify choreographies because of my limitations, so I'm already quiet and in the back.
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    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    All right, let me throw a little bit more into the mix here.

    What if you are teaching a specialized body of knowledge and the beginners in question have had NO exposure to it before?

    For example: suppose the workshop is focused on a prop like fan veils. The workshop is billed as "taking your fan veils up a notch, advanced tips and tricks for handling your fan veils". Five students have bought their first fan veils that very day in the dealers room and come to the class. They can barely get them open, let alone "turn it up a notch." You can't really tell them to "follow along in the back as best you can" because they are seriously outclassed.

    Should the workshop instructor deal with them? Or should it be on the shoulders of the workshop organizer to deal with this bad mismatch?
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    students have bought their first fan veils that very day in the dealers room and come to the class.

    Yes...that could be me. I live in an isolated location, so if I had a strong desire to learn this skill, I would jump in and hope to learn something useful as I may not have another chance to take this sort of workshop for many years. I would stay in the back, keep my mouth shut (hopefully) and absorb what I could.

    As an instructor, I would have a sense of frustration that my best stuff was casting pearls before swine, but I would not dumb it down for the 5 as they had fair warning in the title. Of course, I might modify that stance if there were 6 in the room total. ;-)


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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerb View Post
    All right, let me throw a little bit more into the mix here.

    What if you are teaching a specialized body of knowledge and the beginners in question have had NO exposure to it before?

    For example: suppose the workshop is focused on a prop like fan veils. The workshop is billed as "taking your fan veils up a notch, advanced tips and tricks for handling your fan veils". Five students have bought their first fan veils that very day in the dealers room and come to the class. They can barely get them open, let alone "turn it up a notch." You can't really tell them to "follow along in the back as best you can" because they are seriously outclassed.

    Should the workshop instructor deal with them? Or should it be on the shoulders of the workshop organizer to deal with this bad mismatch?
    I think if it's an advanced special topic it should be billed as a master class and the organizer should have taken responsibility for screening the participants (this should have been discussed beforehand between the two of them, though).

    But that rarely happens because the organizer is desperately trying to cover costs!

    So once they're in the room, the instructor is in charge of the room and has to cope (but she never has to work with that organizer again if this happens -- I wouldn't). This is where the instructor really earns her pay.

    At the moment it's obvious that a couple of participants can't open their fans, I'd stop the action and address it. "I was asked to teach advanced fanveil work to experienced fanveil dancers, but I can see some beginners in the room. How many of you are new to fanveil?"

    If it's less than roughly 20% of the group, I'd ask them if they were aware they had signed up for an advanced class. If 'yes' they should go to the back of the room so they won't collide with the others and follow along as best they can (the experience I assume they knowingly signed on fo). If 'no' they should decide whether they want to follow along or go discuss that issue with the organizer in the hallway outside right now.

    I would do this in a friendly, kindly way, I wouldn't be mean or derisive about it at all. It's just a classroom issue to be dealt with.

    If a significant portion of the room is beginners, though, I'd offer a superquick 'review' of the basics for them & suggest the advanced dancers follow along as a technique refresher, THEN suggest they follow along while I turn my attention to the advanced material the others paid for.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerb View Post
    What if you are teaching a specialized body of knowledge and the beginners in question have had NO exposure to it before?
    Why does this matter? Occasionally, students have the chance to work with a native teacher whose pedagogy consists of, "Watch me and do this, because I barely speak your language and don't break moves down." Other teachers (e.g. Yousry Sharif) assume if you want to study with them, you know what you're getting yourself into, so keep up or stay home. In either case, the material might be moves you've seen before, but it's coming at an alarming pace or it's improvised on the fly, so if you barely understand the fundamentals or if you are not great at absorbing new material quickly, the class will be a bad fit for you. It doesn't matter if there's an unusual specialty involved or not. When it's advertised as "advanced X," and you're not advanced at X, that's a conflict.

    You can't really tell them to "follow along in the back as best you can" because they are seriously outclassed.
    If you gave them adequate notice in your publicity for the event, why can't you? If they were warned and they came anyway, whose fault is that? If your flyer said, "Lunch will not be provided, so please make your own arrangements," and they're sitting there at noon, hungry and foodless, it's certainly gracious to offer to split your sack lunch with them or to invite them along with your group to Anwar's Tahini Hut, but you wouldn't expect a room full of Gallants to chip in to buy Goofus a pizza. There's "making an innocent (or justifiable, in the case of poor pre-workshop publicity) mistake" and there's "being cluelessly entitled." It's more reasonable to expect everybody else to accommodate the former than the latter.

    Should the workshop instructor deal with them? Or should it be on the shoulders of the workshop organizer to deal with this bad mismatch?
    I'd say it depends on how distracting they are and who is responsible. If it's the organizer's mistake (insufficient publicity) or the student's (did you not read the flyer?), then it's an imposition to expect a guest teacher to take up that slack. It's also not the guest teacher's fault if the local definition of "intermediate" is three levels below hers, but an experienced teacher should be able to make adjustments (and may have been aware of the possibility in advance). At some point, the teacher is responsible for keeping the workshop on track. If a student is particularly out in left field and disruptive, then I would suggest the teacher ask the organizer to speak with the individual privately during a break, and if that doesn't work, then dealing with the matter in front of the class may be the last resort.
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    "being cluelessly entitled."

    My new phrase for 2012 ... thank you!!! I never had an adequate combination of words to describe this very common mindset.


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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    students have bought their first fan veils that very day in the dealers room and come to the class.

    Yes...that could be me. I live in an isolated location, so if I had a strong desire to learn this skill, I would jump in and hope to learn something useful as I may not have another chance to take this sort of workshop for many years. I would stay in the back, keep my mouth shut (hopefully) and absorb what I could.

    As an instructor, I would have a sense of frustration that my best stuff was casting pearls before swine, but I would not dumb it down for the 5 as they had fair warning in the title. Of course, I might modify that stance if there were 6 in the room total. ;-)
    I might do something like this if I felt it was the only way I could ever study a topic... But I would do my best to prep myself. (and I think you would too, Anala) I would:
    • buy my prop well in advance of the class, not on the way in
    • Spend some time familiarizing myself with my prop
    • Do as much self-study as possible before the workshop, with DVDs, youtube clips, etc
    • make the instructor aware, if possible, before class that I knew I was mis-enrolled and didn't expect her to dumb down her material for me
    • stay out of the way of those who were able to follow along better than me (back of room, or outside edge of room) so I wouldn't be a danger or a distraction to others


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    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    As an instructor, I would have a sense of frustration that my best stuff was casting pearls before swine, but I would not dumb it down for the 5 as they had fair warning in the title. Of course, I might modify that stance if there were 6 in the room total. ;-)
    Reminds me of a workshop we had here in NZ years back with zills. Here zills are pretty much optional. Not all teachers teach them many students don't have any. An American tutor turned up to teach a zill workshop (among other things). In the end she did a 10 minute "introduction to zills" then taught a completely different workshop (without zills). There really was no other choice.


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    Official BHUZzer SpicyThai's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by kashmir View Post
    Reminds me of a workshop we had here in NZ years back with zills. Here zills are pretty much optional. Not all teachers teach them many students don't have any. An American tutor turned up to teach a zill workshop (among other things). In the end she did a 10 minute "introduction to zills" then taught a completely different workshop (without zills). There really was no other choice.
    It's a shame the workshop organizer didn't recognize the lack of zill instruction in the area and slate the workshop accordingly.

    I do wonder why people who want to take a zill workshop would show up without any zills, or the foreknowledge that they would be for sale before the workshop.

    Kudos for the instructor being able to roll with the situation.
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    Official BHUZzer Kat144's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    I took lots of classes I had no business taking the first 2 years. I wasn't expecting anyone to cut me any slack. Good dancers had paid good money to take from these ladies, so I was happy they weren't slowing down for the beginners like me. It would have made me feel terrible.
    This. If I were to sign up for a workshop at a level more advanced than I am, it would be because I figured even if I couldn't get all the moves, there might be something I could take away with it at the end. But I wouldn't expect it to be made easy for me.
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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpicyThai View Post
    It's a shame the workshop organizer didn't recognize the lack of zill instruction in the area and slate the workshop accordingly.

    I do wonder why people who want to take a zill workshop would show up without any zills, or the foreknowledge that they would be for sale before the workshop.

    Kudos for the instructor being able to roll with the situation.
    I don't think that Kashmir was saying the participants turned up without zills, was she?

    I would about guarantee that at the time this workshop was taught - since it's either one I was in, because I can remember a workshop in which the zills got simplified and left off because of the limited skills, or more likely one that is Before My Time - there was no easy way for participants to buy Actual Zills ahead of time, since most of us started out learning with kiddie finger cymbals and hoped to buy real zills at the annual festival or if travelling overseas.

    Also, there could well have been people who thought they could zill there, but by the standards of the instructor they knew almost nothing. People around here think I zill well, but all that means is I can play triples and walk at the same time without thinking about it.
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    Mega BHUZzer kashmir's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpicyThai View Post
    It's a shame the workshop organizer didn't recognize the lack of zill instruction in the area and slate the workshop accordingly.

    I do wonder why people who want to take a zill workshop would show up without any zills, or the foreknowledge that they would be for sale before the workshop.
    The problem was the organizer did not recognize the problem either. Same old same old - you often do not realize what you do not know - or the skills you lack. (Reason why self taughts hit so many problems or have big gaps in their knowledge)

    People had zills alright. Most could even play a RLR - slowly. But most were at a level where what was needed was lots of basic practice (myself included - I could zill - sorta - but couldn't dance at the same time as we'd learnt zill patterns sitting down)


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    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    I think there are some things where muddling along in back makes sense -- leaving out turns and layers in combos and choreographies means you at least get the feeling of the style. For example, if you were a baby-beginner dancer, and Mahmoud Reda came through, you would for sure have a bunch of trouble with his turns and directional changes. Yet you might pick up enough of his styling to enhance your knowledge, particularly if a more advanced dancer was near you and you could watch her. (However, you might be brain-blasted after three hours.)

    Unfortunately there are some things in this dance where not having put in the time means that you might be a danger to yourself, others, or perhaps the collective sanity of the group. Zills are a great example. Until you have spent X hours going clunk-clunk-clunka clunk (where X varies somewhat person to person), you can't take an intermediate zill workshop. Until you have painfully stood in your kitchen doing a 3/4 shimmy over and over, just trying to get one down, you probably should not take "3/4 Shimmy Variations For the Obsessed." If you have never balanced anything before and have never done any floorwork, is it a good idea to sign up for "Sword Balancing and Level Changes Beyond the Basics"?

    I think there are a bunch of different things that go into this problem. I probably sound like a cranky old high-intermediate student, so bear with me:

    a. the workshop should be correctly promoted... the teacher and the sponsor should know when they set up the reg form what level(s) of dancer will be comfortable in the class.

    b. if dance teachers are talking up workshops to their classes, they should be careful with the blanket statement of "I'm sure you'll get something out of it."

    c. dance teachers should tell newbies in advance that if they feel overwhelmed by a workshop it is perfectly acceptable to sit down quietly in the back, take notes, and observe. I know everybody on bhuz knows this already, but super-enthused Student Q with six months of classes under her belt probably doesn't.
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerb View Post
    They shouldn't have signed up in the first place, but now you are stuck with them! Now what?
    I think everybody who teaches regular weekly classes is accustomed to this issue - students show up out of nowhere and sign up for an "intermediate" or "advanced" class, but with skills far below the level of the students already in the class.

    Lots of reasons this could have happened - DVD learners may incorrectly estimate their skills once they're ready to join a class, other teachers may have different standards for what represents an "intermediate" student as compared to advanced, etc.

    I've even had people with NO prior belly dance experience want to enter at the level of my intermediate students because they have "a dance background" in ballet or modern dance. Or I've had people with no prior belly dance background want to sign up for Level 2 because the time/date that I offered Level 1 was inconvenient for them, whereas Level 2 fit their schedules better.

    Regardless of whether it's a weekly class or a workshop, it's the same issue either way.


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    Master BHUZzer danielabellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    I actually did just have this problem with the "Advanced Sword Workshop" I hosted. I had one student who didn't even own a sword, I let her borrow one of mine. The workshop was billed as "Advanced" and the description clearly stated students needed to have a "basic competency" with balancing a sword. So, the instructor taught as she had planned, because anyone there knew what they were getting into, and if they couldn't keep up it was not our responsibility to change what we had planned.


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    Official BHUZzer Sabine's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by danielabellydance View Post
    I actually did just have this problem with the "Advanced Sword Workshop" I hosted. I had one student who didn't even own a sword, I let her borrow one of mine. The workshop was billed as "Advanced" and the description clearly stated students needed to have a "basic competency" with balancing a sword. So, the instructor taught as she had planned, because anyone there knew what they were getting into, and if they couldn't keep up it was not our responsibility to change what we had planned.
    I teach sword workshops frequently, and this is a real problem. While I welcome beginners in beginner-level workshops, I've had workshops that were advertised as "intermediate and up, with prior experience sword balancing" and then had students show up never having held a sword. At one memorable workshop, one gal was downright dangerous and almost hurt another participant. (I then recognized that she was mentally disadvantaged, and asked others to give her more space, and quickly showed her a modification of the move!) I've also had situations where the promoter crammed the room too full, causing a potentially dangerous situation. I usually will do the "quick review" idea, but sometimes have modified material based on safety--decided to cut out one-handed sword manipulations, for example.

    When I teach sword intensives in my own studio and have total control (grin) I have students send in their applications along with a paragraph about their sword experience. I reserve the right to reject applicants, and have moved people to a beginner workshop instead. Traveling, I've often taught more than one level of sword workshop, and those taking the intermediate level have to be experienced or else they must take the beginner level first.
    Sometimes there is a language barrier to consider with traveling dancers too--I had several Japanese women in one workshop where it became obvious to me that they were new to sword. We went with "basic review" and then moved along to advanced stuff.

    I really support the idea of teachers telling students to sit & take notes if it's over thier heads.
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    Established BHUZzer faaria's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    I have seen this happen at every workshop I have taken! One issue is the levels of one teacher do not match up with the levels of all, as stated above.
    Another issue is a one size fits all workshop offered in most places. Newbie dancers are excited and want to take part! Who can blame them, it is talked up, everyone is going.
    I brought in a workshop and offered 3 levels to choose from instead of one big, one size fits all workshop. Seeing this happen more often, a good thing! Offering Master classes and then choreo workshops along with a short beginner workshop is a great idea. Then everyone gets to take part, beginners have fun and learn a new style as well as pros and teachers enjoying a master class where they are not run over by the poor beginner who has no idea what she/he is doing. (not their fault, they just don't know how to make the fast changes yet).
    I think that this model is great for students, great for more advanced dancers and would bring in more people in general. Just my 2 cents...
    Sirène likes this.


  25. #25
    Advanced BHUZzer BELLA_BELLA's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Kill them before they infect the others.


  26. #26
    Master BHUZzer tigerb's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by BELLA_BELLA View Post
    Kill them before they infect the others.
    ROTFL!!
    Vashti Silks is my silk dye blog


  27. #27
    Advanced BHUZzer Nepenthe's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    I agree the workshop instructor should not slow down for beginners unless clearly the entire class is missing something. I went to a workshop a few years ago - billed as intermediate/advanced - where someone showed up who hadn't learned how to layer a shimmy while walking. I was relieved that the workshop instructor went to her and said "I see you're struggling with this. I can't teach this technique in the middle of this choreography workshop but you can skip the shimmy if it helps you follow along."

    As a beginner, I took workshops with Amar Gamal and I got a LOT out of it. I'm sure if I took the same choreography/workshop again, I'd get different things - and possibly more - out of it. But at every level, I got something out of it. But I didn't ask a lot of questions, knowing I was a beginner.

    I don't know if I believe the beginners need to stay at the back. Unless they are going the wrong direction and causing people to step on them, they may have an easier time if they are near the front and can see better. If they are going to stop and watch to figure it out, though, they should step to the side.

    The problem is - the people who need to hear this probably don't read Bhuz.

    Perhaps workshop instructors could specify the appropriate behavior at the beginning of a workshop, so as not to call anyone out.


  28. #28
    I could get used to this! Kimahri's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    I can usually get a good read of the room while I'm taking them through a warmup. Two times when scheduled to present intermediate/advanced material I've down-shifted the pace or the level based on my gut reaction to that initial reading.

    But if it's clearly been marketed as intermediate/advanced and the majority is good to go? Hellz no, I follow pirate code....you fall behind, you get left behind. Period.

    ~~Kimahri
    tigerb likes this.


  29. #29
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nepenthe View Post
    I don't know if I believe the beginners need to stay at the back. Unless they are going the wrong direction and causing people to step on them, they may have an easier time if they are near the front and can see better.
    The main disadvantage I see to having beginners camp out in the front rows is that if the room is not set up for good visibility (crowded with four or more rows, and the teacher is on the same level), the folks at the back sometimes have to depend on the students in front of them to know what's going on. Some students intentionally follow the row directly in front of them anyway. It's not ideal to put the least experienced people in a position where their lack of expertise is going to ripple back. Ultimately, the solution is to put the teacher in a place where everybody can cue directly off her/him no matter where they are in the room, what level they are, and regardless of whether rows get rotated.

    If they are going to stop and watch to figure it out, though, they should step to the side.
    If you are going to be doing anything short of participating in the moment, situate yourself where you are the least distraction. Stuff happens, bodies need different accommodations, you want to take extra notes, whatever. Nobody's perfect, but if you're going to be an annoyance or a hazard to the students around you, at least reduce the mileage of trucking back and forth through the herd by not positioning yourself in the front or center.
    Kathiya likes this.


  30. #30
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Begnners in Wrong Level workshop: what do you do?

    A couple of years ago I took a workshop with Angelika which was an advanced performance skills workshop. We were supposed to be working on emotions and how to use the stage. Well, it became very clear, very early that most of the workshop participants hadn't a clue about things such as how to do a shimmy walk, let alone being able to learn a 2 min choreography and then make it their own and perform it for the class! those of us who were "advanced" were disappointing that AN decided to bring the workshop down to a basic level. I think there were three of us who were offered refunds. (I didn't take it. I know the organizer runs at a lose, so. . . )

    Also, I have been in non-intro zill workshops where people not only don't have zills with them, they haven't put them on before. So the truth is, there are a lot of people like anala who simply want to take the class / see this as potentially the only opportunity to gain any information, and pay their money to take it. And while it may be disappointing to people such as myself when most of the room is beginners, it does behoove the instructor to play to the majority of the audience.

    But, this can also be solved by making the majority of workshops level 1 / 2 and any advanced workshops by invite.

    {{{HUGS}}}


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